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Today, 18 December, is International Migrants Day. Like many of us, I am one of 272 million international migrants in the world today.

Some of us move out of choice. And when out of choice, migration can propel economic growth, reduce inequalities and connect diverse societies.

Yet, others migrate because they do not have a choice. They often risk their own lives and leave behind family members in the process. A recent United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, Scaling Fences, highlights that migration is a reverberation of development progress across Africa, albeit progress that is uneven and not fast enough to meet people’s aspirations.

As we enter the crucial Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals, UNDP is supporting UN Member States to implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to enhance cooperation on international migration in all of its dimensions. As part of the UN Network on Migration, UNDP’s work lies at the intersection of migration and development, whose links are complex. We are looking to better understand the root causes and drivers of migration, while also enabling migrants to contribute to sustainable development in their countries of origin and destination. UNDP is also pushing the boundaries by exploring livelihoods opportunities for people on the move; to embrace digital technologies; and to adapt to the future of work. This future focused outlook is necessary given the many and emerging challenges that the world is now facing. For instance, UNDP’s new 2019 Human Development Report points out that in middle-income countries, climate change is also causing increased migration to cities.

On International Migrants Day, we celebrate the many contributions that migrants make to communities across the globe – and once again, recognise that implementation of the Global Compact for Migration will bring safety, order and economic progress that will benefit all.

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

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